Sunday, January 22, 2012

The moving finger writes ...

Home from a week of writing within sight of the Atlantic Ocean.

I wonder at the lovely strangeness of living in a small cottage with four articulate opinionated people, who for hours at a time are completely silent.  Before computers became the writer's tool, there would at the very least be the clatter of typewriter keys or the skritch skritch of pen on paper.  Now the minuscule tap of fingertips on laptop keyboards is overshadowed by the sound of the surf a few hundred feet away.  We were together in this tiny house, but alone in our work.

In those five writing days, I finished the second draft of my second novel (the first is lying in the slush piles of various publishing houses.)  Today I'll print a copy to work with this coming week.  For this third draft I need the printed page: to cross out, underline, insert, add notes in margins; but even more I need to feel its bulk, the weight of a year and a half's work, to make it real.

***

Three young people died yesterday in a terrible house fire in Poughkeepsie; lives ended before they'd really begun.  Each of them must have had plans: places to see, adventures to have, things to accomplish, people to love, all with an eye toward a future they do not have.  I am so sad.

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